Here are my thoughts when it comes to dating:

Blerg. Mmmrfleflunk. Gleeberflabafup pffishk kokaboobooblblb.

The guy I've been dating this past while has said he wants to slow down, and keep it where we're at now. Casually dating.

This had me all worried that he was pulling away. But on a couple of clarifying conversations, he said he felt like we were trying to "close the deal", or methodically trying to go to the next level of our relationship. He said he felt some timidity in our relationship as well.

I acknowledged some of my timidity. I told him that I realize that my eye contact is poor when it comes to staring into each others eyes. When he looks into my eyes like that, I suddenly feel self conscious, ashamed, and I have to look away. This has happened several times.

I confessed to him after he made his "timid" comment, and told him that I'm not experienced with this, and there is some vulnerability and insecurity there. I have not yet told him it is because I was born with and grew up with crossed eyes. They were a source of constant embarrasment and shame. I have never really liked looking at myself in the mirror because of these crooked/goggly eyes were looking back at me. They felt disconnected from my experience, and to have someone looking into my eyes with that background, makes it so very hard to look back without feeling all the emotional baggage.

So my sponsor says that where we are in our dating relationship is pretty normal. Most people don't have a clue what they're doing from one moment to the next. They make up the rules and guidelines as they go along, and dating is wrought with misunderstanding and fear and terror and insecurity for any and all reasons.

What a mine field.

My sponsor reminded me of this as well - 2 months ago I was saying that I didn't think it was ever going to happen. I would never meet anyone who liked me that I could like back. I'm too different and unique to find anyone who could see me as valuable and wonderful. He said I should be grateful that I've met someone that I consider amazing.

I've also received good council that I should let go of the fear and focus on gratitude for having met such an amazing man. I love who he is, his character. He's an upstanding person and I can see SO MUCH potential for an incredibly rewarding relationship with him.

And here I am struggling with intimacy issues; not being able to stare into his face and his eyes. And I'm at a loss for finding out how to find loverboy nick names to call him. He's already called me several, which I absolutely love. There's more embarrassment there for me as well - calling him a nick name feels weird. I don't understand this one at all. I can understand the eye thing, but feeling weird about a nick name?

How the hell do people find their way through a dating relationship where both parties are both openly honest about their ambivalence about where they are? We've both said to each other that we like each other, and want to get to know each other better, and we've also both said to each other that we have some issues to work through, and we're both unsure how that will play out. How the hell does a relationship get off the ground when these complexities are present and no one knows which way it will turn out?

I realize in saying all this that my level of maturity when it comes to romance is pretty fresh. I'm still a kid. 13? 12? I've never been in love, and have never had an experience like this before. I'm certainly not in love with him, yet, but I can see myself falling madly in love with him if I am able to let go of my fear and anxiety issues. Now, how the hell do I let go of my fear and anxiety issues responsibly, without making the person I'm dating feel obliged?

Argh. Dating is hard.